So I’m single. I’m over the hill and have never tied the knot. I don’t have kids, unless my four footed fur baby counts. My cat, Sunny, is the sweetest thing ever. Sometimes I think about getting another cat, but being single, I don’t want to become the crazy cat lady all the kids on the block talk about.
I struggled with being single for a long time. My mom was the greatest mom ever, hands down. She died 6 years ago, and I miss her terribly. This is one of the last pictures I have of her.
When I was younger, I never pictured myself as a career gal. I just thought I would be a mom and a homemaker like my mom. But then I turned 25, and I was no where near close to getting married. It was because there was something wrong with me; I was sure of that.
I would pray half heartedly that God would let me be content in my singleness, but deep down, I desperately wanted to get married. I was really afraid that God’s plan for me would be singleness, so I prayed for God’s will to be done, hoping that His plan would be what I wanted–marriage. Then, birthday 29 rolled around, and I was no where closer to getting married, but my nursing career was in full swing. Funny how life works out.
Birthday 30 came and went. I was still hopelessly single, but as least I had a healthier self-esteem. I found myself sincerely wanting what God wanted for me, and to that end, I began praying sincerely for contentment in whatever marital status I found myself. One day, I realized that I was totally and completely happy, single and all. Funny how life works out. (Did I already say that?)
Well meaning people tell me, sometimes, to hang in there; the right one will come along. I used to cling to those words of encouragement, hoping upon hope that they were right. But now, those words just make me cringe. I mean, it’s like people think I’m not complete, or can’t be happy, without a Mr. by my side. I get introduced sometimes as “Juanita, one of the singles” as if my marital status, or lack thereof, is the most important thing about me. Some people joke about single people being single for a reason or single for a season. It makes me feel like singleness is a disease to be cured.
Don’t get me wrong. Singleness is an important part of my life. It affects how I make decisions. It affects where I go and when I go there. I have a feeling, though, that marriage affects my married friends the same way. In my quest for health, I struggle with how to live a contented single life in a culture that elevates romantic relationships. Sometimes I think maybe there IS something wrong with me now because I’m satisfied being single, especially being single on the other side of 40. But I know that’s not true; contentment, in any circumstance, is a gift to be treasured, and being single does not mean I’m broken.
So I smile at being introduced as a single and try to let the comments of eventually finding the right one roll off my back. If it happens, great; if not, that’s great too. I know who I am. I’m Juanita, child of God, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, nurse, runner, Sunday school teacher who just happens to be single.
So here’s to being content in whatever phase of life you find yourself! May you find joy and purpose in your here and now, married or single.